Inspiration for the games came from the books we used at every workshop as well as online research. We tried to limit stories to local characters, places and events but also discussed lots of what else was going on in England and elsewhere at the time. So the games are a synthesis of those resources, films like Suffragette that some girls had seen, and our discussions about how 21st Century girls like them would feel living at the beginning of the 20th Century.
We also talked about iterative game design – build something, playtest it, improve on it. Some girls want to develop their games further, and we have tried to put useful resources on this website for those that can’t or don’t want to attend our monthly group sessions.
Here is a little bit about each game/design:
Escape the Shop: Izzy and Zoe were inspired by the story of University of Bristol students attacking the WSPU shop in Bristol, and the suffragettes who had to escape. We had also been reading about suffragettes learning jiu-jitsu, which led to a lot of drawings of ninjas – in the end they became the attacking students in this story, where you have to shrink very small to escape along the bookshelves.
Super Arsonette: Made by Kaitlin at a Grrrl Games workshop, on the theme of suffragettes. Kaitlin really quickly designed her game inspired by stories of militant suffragettes drawing attention to their cause by burning down property like the Bristol University Sports Pavilion.
Prison Escape: Jordan and Jasmine created Escape the prison about a character who has been arrested for campaigning for womens’ right to vote. We talked about the suffrage movement women’s experiences of prison and recuperation, and also the ones who managed to sneak out of police custody after being arrested (not Bristol based). Jasmine was inspired to visit her school library to look up more about the suffrage movement. She is still making art and animation.
Rock Throw: The suffragettes threw rocks at windows in Bristol and other cities while fighting for the right to vote, in order to draw attention from the press and the public. This game was made by MNJL at Grrrl Games workshops funded by Bristol Women’s Voice as part of the centenary celebrations of women getting the vote in 1918. It went through several designs ideas but we wanted it to reflect that the suffragettes aimed their rocks at property not people. In this game you see how far you can throw a rock, but it may accidentally bounce off a University Student on the way.
Organs Pipes Escapade: Suffragettes in Bristol hid in the organ pipes of the Colston Hall the night before a political meeting that women were not allowed to attend. When the speaker started they disrupted it shouting Votes For Women from their hiding place. It took a while for the stewards to find and forcibly eject them. Lexi spent a lot of time creating lovely pencil drawings of characters which didn’t all make it into the first draft of the game. Lexi hoped to go on to study animation at university.